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OTC Looks to Expand its Campus

Ozarks Technical Community College is expressing interest in leasing the Springfield-Branson National Airport terminal that will be vacant once the new midfield terminal opens. KSMU's Greg Leuthen reports.

OTC is looking to expand its campus as enrollment has exceeded 10,000 students for the fall semester. Once the midfield terminal opens in 2009 at the Springfield Branson National airport, the old terminal will be vacant. That is why both sides have decided to negotiate a lease for OTC to use the terminal.

OTC President Hal Higdon discusses what types of programs would be moved to the site.

With the Technical and Workforce Training programs located at the airport, Higdon says that the technical students would have more space for hands on learning while the academic and medical students would have smaller class sizes and more available parking at the main campus. He also says that tuition would not be affected if OTC expands, and since one-third of OTC's students live in Republic, Willard, Mt. Vernon, and Walnut Grove, they would benefit from a shorter commute.

The airport will also benefit. Airport Spokesman, Kent Boyd, says that since aviation revenue can be unstable, it is important for an airport to generate revenue in other ways.

Hal Higdon says that OTC plans to invite the Missouri Careers Center to relocate at the terminal so that all the career training and unemployment services would be in the same location.

Representatives from Ozark Tech and the airport plan to begin negotiations this fall. Any agreement reached would have to be approved by the governing boards of OTC and the airport.